more shadow

as the sun
descended and the world
fell in line
across the water in a
thin spectrum
I watched a shadow
cross the crusted
sweating snow
searching for
the one it was, the
space it would
someday fill

the anxious outline
flit across
the surface
like an animal
let loose who soon
gets lost and stops

and strains its
neck, its frantic eyes
scrape from side to side

the shadow, like
the bony field
stood still
and watched the dwindled
light, like a figure
wrapped in cloth---
unrecognizeable, generic

soon the thin upper
slice hung on its side
like a loose spoke

           and the shadow
fell asleep beneath it

the next time the sun
came up, it didn't know
where it was
like a tongue
that can't be traced
to its source
or a song whose sound
circles its form

an amorphous throat
lurked the field
it answered its cry
with its cry

soon, it didn't matter
where I looked,
how much I tried,
if I condensed
or pumped my mind,
if I held my hand or
left it alone

It was like, not really
like, like
keys scraping
misfit holes

White Days

the sun always comes up

     yet some
     days the white 
suffocate lowers           
like snowy exhaust
designed to trick you
into death

these are the days
I like best

the days that justify
solitary confinement,
the laconic breath
of warm tea drifting to meet
earth’s skullcap

                       when I was young
                       you said you were my sun
                               the walls sequestered
                               eternal noon, enclosed
                               forever (standing up)
white days 
wall thick invisible

white days
hold sound down,
smell parsnip and
               staple, quilt 
aneurysm, quivering 
pin heads, shivering
paper ridges—
      invitations to
      open the skin

Related Poems

My Shadow

I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me,
And what can be the use of him is more than I can see.
He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head;
And I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed.

The funniest thing about him is the way he likes to grow—
Not at all like proper children, which is always very slow;
For he sometimes shoots up taller like an India-rubber ball,
And he sometimes gets so little that there’s none of him at all.

He hasn’t got a notion of how children ought to play,
And can only make a fool of me in every sort of way.
He stays so close beside me, he’s a coward you can see;
I’d think shame to stick to nursie as that shadow sticks to me!

One morning, very early, before the sun was up,
I rose and found the shining dew on every buttercup;
But my lazy little shadow, like an arrant sleepy-head,
Had stayed at home behind me and was fast asleep in bed.